Following an Open Call process it was a priviledge to award emerging photographer and collaborative practitioner Sam Ivin the residency in Stoke on Trent, in partnership with Appetite and Creative People and Places. Saw was appointed to create a new community photography archive and exhibition. Sam had previously made ‘Lingering Ghosts’, a celebrated project in partnership with Fabrica.
‘Lingering Ghosts’, saw Sam visit Sanctus St. Mark’s, a refugee support group based in St. Mark’s church in Stoke-on-Trent. This body of work, commissioned by Fabrica, Treviso, Italy, saw him working with refugees in all parts of the UK. Since publishing the award winning and critically acclaimed Lingering Ghosts in February 2016 and exhibiting the work around Europe Ivin has become increasingly interested in the integration of migrants in UK cities.
Sam Ivin is a photographer whose work focuses on social issues and the people connected with them. His pictures attempt to demonstrate the impact situations have on his subjects. By documenting their stories and perspectives he hopes to provide a more personal, tangible understanding of them. He studied Documentary Photography at the University of Wales, Newport graduating in 2014. Since then he has been awarded numerous significant photography prizes including the Magnum Photos Graduate Photographers Award, May 2017, The GMC First Prize, Royal Birmingham Society of Artists, March 2017, the Best Graduate Single Image, Runner Up, British Journal of Photography (BJP) Breakthrough Award 2016 and the Winner of Best Single Image, Human Category at Renaissance Photography Prize 2015.
The project is a collaboration between GRAIN Projects and Appetite, supported by Arts Council England and is part of the Creative People and Places Programme.
Curating and producing The State of Photography symposium, held in 2017, provided an opportunity to explore, debate and review how photographers and photography practice develops and responds in our current challenging times.
Acclaimed and outstanding photographers and artists who document the world around us were invited to showcase their recent work. Each have different approaches to making their work. They have been artist, story teller, observer, participant, explorer and poet. Their work has been made through collaboration, participation, community engagement, research and obstinacy.
During the Symposium we heard from the perspective of the photographer, curator and academic. They shared our concerns about the present and offered a diverse range of practices, experiences and stories that document the state of humanity and the world today. The documentary role of photography is changing, particularly as work is commissioned and made for gallery settings. Photography can impart the greatest truth of our times and sheds light on injustices, inequality and other aspects of our society. It has been and remains one of the strongest vehicles for change as photographers explore polities, gender, society, sexuality, diversity, economics and environment. It seems today – a time of political unrest, flux and crisis – more essential than ever to explore the role that photography can play.
Speakers included celebrated photographers, curators and academics, those that create self-initiated projects and commissioned bodies of work; Andrew Jackson, Anthony Luvera, Camilla Brown, Edgar Martins, John Hillman, Kajal Nisha Patel, Michelle Sank and Simon Constantine.
Inviting acclaimed photographer and anthropologist Liz Hingley to respond to the Grain Projects Commission Opportunity and work with Syrian families and refugees in Coventry was a fantastic proposition. Commissioning Liz to make new work for an installation at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, during the City of Culture selection phase, created an ideal opportunity for collaboration. Having got to know Liz and her work ‘Under Gods’, ‘The Jones Family’ and seeing the results of her work from her time in Shanghai, she was ideally suited for a project that engaged with the community and told a unique story of people and their city.